Two senatorial candidates of President Rodrigo Duterte’s party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), have denounced vote-buying and vote-selling during campaign season, noting that Filipinos will be the biggest “losers” should these irregularities persist.
In a press statement, PDP-Laban senatorial bets Rey Langit and Astra Pimentel called for intensified monitoring on the part of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and vigilance among voters.
Pimentel, former executive director of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, said the Comelec should ensure the integrity of the 2022 polls.
“Tutukan dapat ng Comelec ang mga insidente ng vote-buying. Maiwasan na dapat itong lumaganap pa (The Comelec should focus on vote-buying incidents. They should prevent it from spreading further),” she said.
She encouraged voters to look at the platforms of the candidates, instead of accepting money or gifts.
“Taumbayan po, botante ang talo sa pagbili ng boto. Ang tignan po natin ay ang plataporma at mahahatid ng mga kandidato at sa amin po, kung ano po ang aming maisusulong sa Senado (The people (voters) are the losers when they allow vote-buying. Let us look at the platform of candidates and what they can push for in the Senate),” she added.
Langit said vote-buying and selling should be curbed, as the country’s fate is at stake in every election.
“Dapat pong mawala na ang vote-buying sa mga pangangampanya. Isa itong lantarang kawalang respeto sa proseso ng halalan (Vote buying in campaigns must be eradicated. This is a blatant disrespect for the election process),” he said.
Langit, a veteran broadcaster, said voters must reject candidates who tolerate such acts.
“Walang puwang dapat sa halalan ang ganitong mga gawain dahil makikita lamang dito na mababa ang tingin sa ating mga kababayan (There should be no room for such activities in the election because it only shows that some candidates look down on our countrymen),” he added.
Both candidates also vowed to address the concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should they be elected to the Senate.
Pimentel, the lone woman candidate of PDP-Laban, said she will advocate for answers to address the problems of OFWs.
“’Wag na nating balewalain pa ang mga mahal nating OFWs. Sila ang ating mga bagong bayani. Maramdaman dapat nila ito (Let’s not ignore our dear OFWs anymore. They are our new heroes. They should be able to feel it),” she said.
Langit explained that he has been advocating for the welfare and protection of OFWs throughout his almost four decades of career in media. He assured that he will be the “voice of OFWs” in the Senate.